Love, That Shit : Book Review

When Chandru Bhojwani, the author of Love, That Shit contacted me requesting a review, I was in a dilemma whether to accept it or not. Usually, I stay away from the self-help genre and prefer fiction, but the book was on relationships and the blurb also seemed really interesting. I finally gave in and agreed to review the book and I am really glad I did so.

source : goodreads.com

source : goodreads.com

Blurb:
Like a roller-coaster, relationships have their nauseating ups, downs, twists and turns… Sure, like a rollercoaster, relationships are also fun and exciting but what happens when the ride isn’t as smooth as you thought it would be? What do you do when you want to get off the ride but disengaging the safety harness is a lot harder than you thought? Or simply, what if you’re finding it difficult to get on a ride in the first place, especially when there isn’t a height restriction?

…Unfortunately, relationships don’t come with perforated edges and Love, That Shit! (LTS) hopes to help you through the process of getting into, dealing with and even the aftermath of relationships. What sets LTS apart is its contemporary approach, aimed at enlightening while simultaneously, entertaining.

Challenging norms and common thinking at times, LTS hopes to keep you chuckling, or at least smiling, as you embark on the journey and absorb its message

Review:

The book consists of 23 different chapters, each starting with a quote (often hilarious, some inspiring) and often ending on a humorous note. In between, each chapter is filled with lots of information, anecdotes, examples to say to the readers that relationships are hard work and taxing. But it also tells us that we are not alone who has been doled out this shit and that everybody else in some form or another goes through the same very phase.

The best thing about the book is that it isn’t a continuous story. So, a reader can jump to any chapter or begin reading from middle, yet he won’t feel lost and each chapter has a lot of information to give. But, the best thing to do would be to read it from the beginning as topics are nicely segregated that way.

Often, it seems more of a monologue or an extended column, where the author is talking to us through his words and he talks a lot. A LOT. He talks about various things ranging from single men/women and their attitudes, different situations in relationships, common perceptions about love, matrimony blues, arranged and love marriages, different types of MIL (mother-in-law) and FIL (father-in-law), why marriages fail these days etc.

No the book isn’t only about love, relationships, men, women and marriages. The book also has a spiritual angle towards it and many chapters also deal with dealing with tough situations in life as well. Some of them are break-up/divorce, soul-cleaning, karmic connection, fear of change and the Ex factor.

The writing style is crisp, funny, witty, humorous yet enlightening in it’s own way. Lots of things discussed in this book are worth pondering over and implementing in our (love) lives as well. This book will touch a chord with every person who has ever been in a relationship, who is in a relationship and the ones who are soon to be in a relationship can learn a lot from this book as well.

Although the book is all of 143 pages, a lot of research has gone behind it and a lot of topics are covered. It doesn’t promise to give answers or solutions to all of your problems in relationships, but it gives you a nice perspective to look at situations that almost every person faces in relationships.

Makes for a nice read.

The author can be reached at : Chandru Bhojwani

Posted in books, Chandru Bhojwani, fiction, life, love, relationships, reviews, self-help, That Shit | 4 Comments

I love you…

She – WTF! How in the name of Jesus did you say yes?

He – Technically, I didn’t. She did. I had tried my best to elicit a no. But if she’s so hell-bent on committing suicide, I can’t do anything.

She – Don’t act too smart. This isn’t funny.

He – I am not being funny. I’m just stating the fact.

She – Whatever. Take me through your conversation and I would tell you what you could have done to save a life. Or two.

He – Yeah, let’s hear you out as well. So, here we go.

I arrived at the restaurant on time and as always the lady in question was late by just half an hour. When she did finally turn up, I stood up and extended my hand.

I : Hey.

She – Hii, I’m really sorry I got stuck in traffic. 

I (sarcastically) : How cliched!

She – Excuse me?

I – Uh, nothing. Would you like to have something?

She – I wouldn’t mind a cold coffee.

I (mischievously) – You really wanna have coffee here?

She – Excuse me? (blushing, as it dawns on her) Gosh.. No! I was, err, I meant, the drinking coffee.

She – You don’t leave sarcasm or double-meaning entendre anywhere you go, right? Moron! You just met her, man, how could you straight-away start with that?

He – That’s just me, girl. You want to hear the rest of it or not?

She – Go on..

I – Of course. I was referring to the drinking coffee itself. Whether you wanna have it here or outside in the open lawn? Why, what did you think?

She (red with embarrassment) – I.. I thought.. You.. Uh, nothing.

I ordered cold coffee for both of us. Please get us a few extra tissues, the lady here would need them later. Thank you.

She – You’re such an a-hole! You really told the waiter that she’d need extra tissues? Omg!

He – Lol, yes. I did really tell him that.

She – What made you think that she would cry, you narcissist pig?

He – My charm, baby, my charm. Now don’t you dare disturb me again or you aren’t hearing any of the rest of it.

I (seriously) – Okay. So why are we here?

She (stammering) – Umm, I.. Um.. I just wanted to.. Um..

I – Look, let me get straight to the point. I know we aren’t here to discuss some stupid course details, which, by the way, is very easy to gather if you spend just 10-15 mins on Google. 

She (dumbfounded) – Yeah, you… you’re right.

I – You bet I am.

She – So, um, do you know why are we here?

I – Of course I know. It’s so obvious. So do you you have any questions in mind?

She – (nodding her head in negative)

I – Alright then, let me begin. I already am in love with another woman and there is no way that I am going to let you or anybody else take her place in my life. 

She (shocked) – But, err, I was told that you were available..

I – I am. I just said I’m in love with a woman, I didn’t say that we are together. Let’s just say that some things didn’t work out for us and we had to drift apart. But, right now, am in no intention of settling down. I still have a long way to go.
Just in case, if you say yes and I am forced to say yes as well, do remember, you’d never take her place and you’d never get the love from me that you expect and actually deserve.
We may not be together in person, but I can always feel her presence around me, I still distinctly remember her voice, her smile, her fragrance and her touch. I don’t need photographs to see her, I just close my eyes and there it is, as if she were standing there in person. There are a million memories so clearly etched in my heart that it would be impossible for me to delete them or re-write them or let someone else in the place occupied by her and only her. 

She – But..

I – Wait. Let me complete. You may be thinking that I am being adamant now but I would forget her as time passes. Or I will get used to your presence around me and I would forget her. Or, someday, I may begin to love you as well. Let me be very very clear, that is NOT going to happen. Not in this lifetime, at least. I love her and would love her every single day of my life. I would wait for her, if not this lifetime, then, some other, may be, but I would keep waiting for her in the hope that someday we will get to be together.

She (gathering herself) – If you really love her so much, why did you leave her?

I – Look, girl, let bygones be bygones. Why don’t you just take care of yourself?

She – I am doing just that. I need to know what happened between you two before settling down for an answer.

I – Haha, that’s really funny. Go back home and settle down for a no.

She – Were you really this rude to her or are you just painting it a bit for me?

He – Nah, I was really like that to her. Her facial expressions, when I was telling her about my love, pretty clearly indicated that she was already in awe of me and that she wouldn’t say no for nothing. So, I had to improvise.

She (agitated) – What makes you so snobbish and obnoxious, again? And what makes you think some girl would be ‘in awe’ of an a-hole she had just met and who hadn’t left any stone unturned to insult her or push her away?

He (smiling) – I don’t really need to give you an answer for this rhetorical question, do I? You already know the answers. Hint, take a look at the person standing in front of you.

She – You and your self-jingoism.

She – Will let you know what I settle for in a couple of days. 

I – What makes you think that I would be waiting for an answer? 

She (confidently) – Me.. 

I – Really? That’s cool. Unfortunately, you weren’t that interesting that I would remember you once I leave this restaurant. By the way, the coffee’s on me. 

She – You will. Was good to meet you. Thanks for the coffee and see you soon.

I – Look, I don’t have anything against you. You’re good looking, smart and intelligent. Don’t waste your life. Just hang in there, there’s plenty of fish in the pond. You deserve someone who’d love you with his all and who’d keep you happy. With me, it would only be tears and loneliness. All the best. Ta!

She – If I were her, I guess, I would have at least slapped you before leaving. Man, I just could not stand that cocky behavior of yours. I wonder how did she manage to stay calm.

He – She was busy falling in love with me..

She – Whatever. So, continue, what happened next?

He (mischievously) – Coffee happened.

She – (groaning)

She (smiling) – I told you we will meet soon again.

I – I wasn’t counting on it. 

She – So, this time, the coffee is on me and I wouldn’t need the tissues either. 

I – Can we get to the point, please? I don’t have much time to spare for these unwanted pleasantries.

She – Okay, coming to the point. Yes!

I – Excuse me?

She (excitedly) – Yes. Yes. Yes!

I – Are you out of your mind?

She – Yes, I am. Ever since we met, I actually am out of my mind. I feel butterflies in my stomach and everything around me looks good and beautiful. I find myself ever-smiling and happier then ever before. I love you, from the bottom of my heart.

I – You’re crazy.

She – Thank you! I really am crazy for you.

I – That wasn’t a compliment.

She – I know sarcastic guy.

I – Why?

She – Technically, you don’t need a reason to fall in love. You just do. And I fell in love with you when we met. I love you…

I – I heard that already. Unfortunately, your excitement isn’t contagious and won’t be reciprocated.

She – I know that it won’t be reciprocated but that doesn’t matter. I am in love with you and that is enough for me. I told yes to my folks and now unless your love is back in your life, you don’t really have any other option I guess.

I – I had warned you, didn’t I?

She – Calm down, big guy. You did warn me and I know what I’m plunging into. I am not into this for nothing.

I – Well, then, be rest assured that you would never get what you desire from me.

She – Ah, you got me wrong. I am not getting into this to demand love from you. I am into this because of your love for her.

I – Excuse me?

She – Yeah, I’ve grown up watching romantic movies and reading romantic novels. Ever since, I had imagined a Prince Charming for myself who would come to me and sweep me off my feet with his charm. Who would love me truly, madly, deeply, eternally, sincerely, unabashedly and without any expectations.

I – And you found your Prince Charming in me? Wow.

She – Well, yes. Except the ‘love me’ part, you really are a Prince Charming. I was half an hour late, yet you did’t show any signs of annoyance, but were just sarcastic. You asked me about what I would like to have even though you were there just to get rid of me. You could have simply skipped meeting me or could have avoided, but no, you didn’t. You came, you met, you talked and you explained. That shows that you won’t run away from tough situations but talk through it.

You straight away got to the point and told me about how much you love your girl. I could see the glow in your eyes when you talked about her and there was no bitterness against her even though you both aren’t together. At first I thought you were cooking up a story to get rid of me, but then, I could see the sincerity in your voice, the love in your eyes and the hope in your words. You tried your best to get rid of me, you were snobbish, obnoxious and rude, yeah, but you never insulted me. I was totally floored by your attitude.

I really was beginning to think that you wouldn’t break, but you did. Just as I was leaving, you did finally show your concern in you last few words. All these were enough to tell me that I would be very happy with you.

Oh and by the way, I know there’s plenty of fish in the pond, but who wants to date a fish. I want to date a real man.

I – Wow. Just amazing. 

She – Ah, I know you’re still being sarcastic, but trust me, I am not making any of this up. I really liked our meeting, mind you it was nothing like I had expected or envisioned, still I really fell in love with you. 

I – This is suicide.

She – Look, I know you don’t love me. You will love her all your life. I wanted someone who would love me truly. Finding true love in these days is so rare. Fortunately for me, I did find a guy who is capable of loving someone truly, unfortunately for me, that true love isn’t for me. But, don’t you worry, I would never force you to love me or never try to replace her.

I respect her and she’s so lucky that she had someone who loved her truly and who still loves her truly. I don’t know what transpired between you two and why you both had to drift apart, and frankly, although I am curious, I don’t really care. If you feel like telling me someday, you can share, even if you don’t, I wouldn’t mind. 

I wouldn’t demand anything, I wouldn’t desire anything from you. Anyway, there’s nobody else in your life. So, let me just be with you. 

I – You are really stupid.

She – Let me give you a bumper offer. At any point of time, she returns to your life, I would happily go away from your life. You don’t owe me anything and I am no responsibility for you. She comes and I would leave on my own. Till then, let me be with you.

I (smiling) – You would make a nice salesgirl.

She (excitedly) – Do I take it as a yes?

I – My folks won’t take a no from me if you’ve given them a yes already.

She – Technically, I didn’t. I wanted to be sure and I wanted to know your opinion, first. 

I – Well, in that case, let us just close this here, shall we?

She (dejected) – I…

I (smiling) – Look, I accept what all you told. It’s one thing to think and feel and another thing to practically live with someone who doesn’t love you but loves someone else. It is impossible to not get affected. Today you may say that you won’t desire, demand or expect, but that is practically impossible. And even you know that. So, I guess, it is better to end it here.

She – But, I really want to stay with you. Let me just stay, please? I swear I would not make life difficult for you. Okay, just a little, may be? ;)

I – Lol. I know what’s in store for me, but fine. If you are so desperate to commit suicide, who am I to stop you? :)

He – So, now, what do you have to say? Do you still think I could have done anything to stop her?

She – Yeah, I have to say that beneath that facade, you really have a soft corner.

He – Aww. Even you are falling in love with me? How sweet!

She – Falling in love? I already love you, sweet heart!

Posted in arranged marriage, feelings, first meet, life, love, relationships | Leave a comment

Main Tera Hero : Movie Review

main tera hero

Main Tera Hero is an out-and-out David Dhawan movie. The same slapstick comedy that he was once synonymous with. With Govinda as his protagonist for various movies, he had entertained a lot and now he is back (with his son) in a new and glamorous way, but reminiscent of the ol’ David and his style.

Seenu (Varun Dhawan) is this notorious small-town guy that has everyone in the town troubled and they are only too happy to let him go when he decides to leave for Bangalore for further studies.
On the very first day of college, Seenu glimpses Sunaina (Ileana D’Cruz) and falls in love with her. But everybody in the college treats her as touch-me-not because a notorious and tyrannical cop Angad (Arunoday Singh – surprise surprise!) has hots for her and doesn’t mind breaking bones of anybody who even dares to look at her.

Just when our Seenu manages to get Sunaina out of her fear of Angad and makes her fall in love with him, somebody kidnaps Sunaina and no, it’s not Angad. It’s a don from Bangkok. The story moves to Bangkok and you know what happens next. Yeah, Seenu goes to Bangkok to rescue Sunaina. Angad, of course, is there to stop him from doing that.

Varun Dhawan ably carries the film on his shoulders. He sings, dances, romances, fights and mimics Govinda and Salman in a lot of ways.
The Goan-beauty, Ileana D’cruz, who has had a lot of hits in South before venturing into Bollywood with Barfi, has given a decent performance as a damsel in distress.
Nargis Fakhri doesn’t have much to do except look glamorous and get manipulated in the movie. That she does with elan. Although she is improving as an actor, she still has a long way to go before she stops pouting for every other scene.
Arunoday Singh is the surprise package. We have so far seen him in serious roles in the movies like “Yeh Saali Zindagi” and “Jism 2″ but here he dons a comedians hat. And he is wonderful at that too.
Rajpal Yadav as Arunoday’s side-kick evokes many a laughter. The don, Vikrant, played by Anupam Kher, is dumb and loud. Evelyn Sharma plays the very young girl-friend of the very old Vikrant. Saurabh Shukla as Vikrant’s brother is funny. Shakti Kapoor also has a cameo.

Glamour, good songs, good music, comedy, some action and some romance. Deadly combo!

Over-all Main Tera Hero makes for a nice watch.

(Image source : https://www.facebook.com/MTHOfficialPage)

Posted in Anupam Kher, Arunoday Singh, bollywood, David Dhawan, Evelyn Sharma, Ileana D'Cruz, Main Tera Hero, movie reviews, movies, Nargis Fakhri, Rajpal Yadav, reviews, Saurabh Shukla, Varun Dhawan | Leave a comment

The Prophecy Of Trivine : Book Review

The Prophecy of Trivine 
By
 Tnahsin Garg,  Srivatsan Sridharan and  Pulkit Gupta

 

Blurb 
An emissary of an advanced alien race travels to the Earth to undertake responsibility of an experiment that has gone out of control. The outcome of this fateful experiment, which was conceived millions of years ago by her species, now rests in her hands. As she prepares to deliver her final judgment, she comes across three young men in a sacred forest who change her life forever.
These three men- a scientist, a hacker and an artist, happen to take refuge in that forest, trying to escape from the oddities of their own unfair lives. Struggling with their dreams and demons, they begin to explore the dark and paranormal behavior of the forest by forging a companionship. From the rare flora and fauna breathing alive on the ground to the deadly wide expanse of the whimsy black sky, everything they find is yet another puzzle unsolved.
Little did they know that four of them hold in their hands the future of mankind and much beyond imagination, they are connected through an ancient Prophecy that was long lost in the sands of time.

My Review:

First of all, kudos to the authors for dabbling into something that not many others from India have ventured in, science-fiction. Also, I can’t fathom how did 3 different people manage to write a novel together!

The alien forces called Gucutep, that were the ones that created the mankind are contemplating destroying the race because the results of the creation aren’t as expected. But the youngest of them all, Xona, who’s also the steward of the creation, objects to immediate termination and asks for one year’s time before taking further decision. After much debate, she’s granted permission.

She travels the Earth and looks all around but she only finds disappointing results. Everywhere the human has only become the biggest enemy of the mankind and is on a self-destruct mode. Humans have become tyrannical, selfish, corrupt and although there are some good men out there, the bad men outnumber the good by a large margin.

Just when she’s convinced that the termination is inevitable, she finds 3 maniacs in a forest who force her to re-think her decision. The first, a mad scientist who pops-up pills instead of food and doesn’t mind putting his own life in line to conduct experiments, Siv. The second, Phil, a wanted convict and an ethical hacker who is on the run because he is wanted in a scam of crores of rupees. The third, Arty, a jungle-boy who lives in jungle and likes to observe nature and paint.

The novel is all about the stories of the 3 men, their past, their present, how they react to the changes in their surroundings and what do they do that makes Xona change her mind.

The authors’ work is commendable for debutantes, but the editor still has some re-work to do. The writing is simple literature-wise where one wouldn’t really need to take assistance of a dictionary. The story moves at a brisk pace all through keeping the readers enthralled and curious about what is to come. One can instantly relate to the 3 characters and feel through their emotions of excitement, curiosity, doubt and their strong bond of friendship. The concepts and theories are nicely built with alien names for aliens and the authors have made it intriguing, but it loses pace post the revelation of the identity of Xona to the 3 friends where it also becomes a bit predictable. It makes for an interesting read but the whole story is so wonderfully set that the climax seems a bit under-whelming.

Over-all, a nice read. And a special mention to the authors for writing in a genre, and wonderfully so, that isn’t really popular in India.

Buy @
 
 

the prophecy of trivineVideo Maker

Meet the Authors 
Srivatsan Sridharan 
Srivatsan is a Computer Scientist, who recently graduated with a Masters degree from Purdue University in the United States. He completed his Bachelors in Engineering from Thapar University, India in 2010. Along with computers, he is extremely passionate about writing. Most of his artistic ideas have taken shape in the form of short stories, speeches, travelogues, and essays. Some of them can be found on his BLOG
Tnahsin Garg 
Tnahsin was born and brought up in India where he got a Bachelor’s degree in engineering. After that he traveled to United States in search of higher education and adventure, and ended up getting a Master’s degree in 2012.  When tired of his scientific pursuits, he’s often found scribbling something unintelligible on some decayed corner of the Internet. You can find him at his BLOG
 Pulkit Gupta
Pulkit is a Computer Science professional who completed his Bachelors in Engineering from Thapar University, India in 2011. He has been an avid reader and an enthusiastic writer since his childhood days. He maintains a number of blogs which are in various stages of decay, but his most recent short story work can be found on his recently created BLOG
Stalk them @
       
Posted in books, fiction, Pulkit Gupta, reviews, sci-fi, science-fiction, Srivatsan Sridharan, The Prophecy Of Trivine, Tnahsin Garg | 3 Comments

M S Dhoni : Book Review

About the authors:
Ayaz Memon, one of India’s most prolific journalists, brings with him 33 years of experience in sports writing. He started his career covering sports and went on to edit newspapers like Mid Day, Bombay Times and DNA as well as magazines like Sportsweek. Ayaz was also sports editor for the Times of India and the Independent at various stages. He is currently consulting editor with NewsX.

Indranil Rai is a freelance journalist with an undying passion for sports, especially cricket.

Jaico Cricketwallah Series with Ayaz Memon is a series of short and thin books (70-80 pages) chronicling the lives of successful cricketers from India. So far, 4 books have been published in the series, one each on Sachin Tendulkar, Virat Kohli, Mahendra Singh Dhoni and Yuvraj Singh. I’m sure many more such chronicles would be in the pipeline. This book M S Dhoni : Captain Cool is penned by Indranil Rai, a freelance journalist.

Just like other chronicles, this too begins with the early life of M.S. Dhoni who was born in an obscure small town which many didn’t even know existed until he shot to fame with his cricketing exploits. It also talks about how Dhoni comes from a family that has seen it’s own monetary struggles to survive and how he was into sports from the beginning. Dhoni was a goal-keeper in his school days and how his coach always wanted a bigger platform for the talented boy.

Coming from small-town, he had to struggle very hard and was often sidelined against others. He got very less chances to prove himself in the beginning and wasn’t selected for the Railways team where he was working as a ticket-collector. Later on, his exploits earned him places in Ranji team, U-19 team and subsequently in India ‘A’ team where he excelled.

But it took a while before he got an international call. In 2004 against Bangladesh where he didn’t have a memorable debut. But he grew in ranks with his uninhibited and explosive batting and also immense strength. He also went on to become the highest scorer among the Indian wicket-keepers.

The book also talks about his rise in captaincy, his unorthodox methods working fine for him and how he got India the first T20I in 2007, WC in 2011 and also took India to the number 1 position in ICC Test rankings for the first time. He also led CSK to 2 titles in the IPL. Yes, he is the man with the midas touch.

He also garnered fair amount of criticism for his unbelievable decisions and unnecessary stroke-hitting, he was also blamed for the recent losses in 2013 and many questioned his captaincy abilities and some also suggested retirement.

Apart from this on-field matters, lot of off-field matters are also discussed like his penchant for fast bikes and his associating with Bollywood’s hunk John Abraham. He is one of the richest sportsmen in the world now who also owns a racing team on his name. His portfolio is impressive as he endorses as many as 20 brands.

Comparatively, this book was a bit difficult to read when compared to the other two in this series as off-field matters were given more prominence than his on-field histrionics. Also, the narration moves back and forth in time confusing the reader. One chapter talks about 2010, for instance, continuing to  2013 and the next one again comes back to 2011.

Nevertheless, a short and sweet read about the emergence of Captain Cool from the obscurity.

Published by Jaico Books.
(Image source : Goodreads)

 

Posted in Ayaz Memon, books, Cricket, Indranil Rai, Jaico Books, M S Dhoni, reviews | Leave a comment

Find_Love.com : Novel Review

source : goodreads.com

source : goodreads

These days there are various matrimonial sites on the internet that are acting like the cupid for people who are either so busy in their work or are unlucky enough to not get married by a certain age. No Neeta Iyer‘s Find_Love.com isn’t another matrimonial website but it is the title of her debut novel.

Find_Love.com is the story of Swati Kannan who is 29 years old, wants to get settled ASAP but has been largely unsuccessful in finding the ‘perfect’ match. She too takes the help of matrimonial sites to find prospective grooms but unfortunately only attracts different kinds of clowns.

The book is about the search of a groom by Swati in which she meets 10 different guys and goes on a date with them to know them better but ends up hating each of them and ends up shouting “NEXT!” at the end of each date as most of them are either searching for a better ‘model’ in the market and keep her in the hanging or are confused about settling down or don’t attract her.

She is a die-hard romantic and believes that, like it happens in Bollywood movies, her ghanti (bell) will also bajegi (ring) when she meets the ‘right’ person. But, when her heart accepts someone, the opposite guy has some problems and when the opposite guy is certain that she is the ‘one’, she has her own doubts about the guy or about ‘them’ together.

So, at the end of this long search, she is still single and fed up of the free coffee dates and men in general. She wants to take a break from groom-hunting and be off-men and off-coffee for a few days.

As the blurb asks, Par Swati ki ghanti bajegi kya? You’ll just have to read Find_Love.com to find out, won’t you?

Needless to say, Find_Love.com has a happy ending.
Happy endings are my favourite. But they wouldn’t be perceived as being happy without the inevitable struggles in the journey to the much-desired destination, says Neeta Iyer.
Couldn’t agree with her more.

The narration is hilarious and more often than not leaves the reader in splits. Neeta has perfectly showcased the psyche of Swati and described all her troubles, frustrations, experiences convincingly. Of course, some co-incidences are too good to be believed and some are stereotypical, but the funny narration more than makes up for them.

Ritu, as Swati’s best-friend and free counsellor, is also hilarious. She has the right advice all the times and although some of her predictions do go wrong, Swati loves her free sessions with Ritu. Swati’s mother, Mrs. Kannan, is modern yet wants a Punjabi munda for her child, showing the traditional orthodoxy that almost every Indian child has to face. Her father, Mr. Kannan, is soft-spoken and man of few words but lets her daughter be and doesn’t force her into anything against her wishes. There’s also a special appearance from Ms. Jyoti, one of Swati’s school teacher who is very fond of her.

Sometimes, I didn’t understand what the extra hahaha were added for in the conversations. Also, the end is rather abrupt or so I felt. Some more wooing, some more pestering would have been fun.

Neeta Iyer has debuted brilliantly with Find_Love.com and it is a light, warm and hilarious read.

Connect with the author here : Find_Love.com (FB) and Neeta Iyer (Twitter)

Posted in books, fiction, Find_Love.com, humor, Jaico Books, Neeta Iyer, reviews | 4 Comments

Just Six Evenings : Novel Review

Hailing from a small town Jabalpur, Madhya Pradesh and currently residing in Gurgaon, Tanmay N Dubey works as a sales manager in a reputed MNC. No wonder that the protagonist Atul of his debut novel, Just Six Evenings, also wants to be an employee of an MNC.

source : goodreads

source : goodreads

Atul, a resident of Raipur, was an average student in academics since the beginning and so he couldn’t clear any of the competitive exams. To prove his ‘worth’ and to be ‘successful’ in life, he had to bag a job in a big MNC or else he would be written off as another loser by the society. But which MNC would give an average student a job? None.

He is offered a job in a small electronics company by his father’s friend in Bhopal and he readily accepts it. Being amicable and talkative, he soon becomes a good salesman and slowly climbs the ladder of hierarchy and success in the small organization.

Once, while returning from vacations, he happens to meet Priya in the train, a management student based in Indore. They become friends, sort of, and exchange email ids. He is attracted towards her and luck favors him as she happens to be in town for 6 days. The story of this book is about their six ‘dates’ on those six evenings. Hence the title, Just Six Evenings.

Due to internal politics, back-hand deals of his boss with their competitors, in spite of winning a tender, Atul has to bear the brunt and has to leave the job. He happens to screw-up his love-life with Priya on the last of the six evenings because he couldn’t control himself and the woman with whom he lost control happens to be the love-interest of one of his best-friends. In just one evening, he screws up his job, friendship, career and he is forced to leave town and start afresh.

He soon gets to the top position in the new company with his talent, talkative skills and excellent salesmanship. Everyone in his new office is either jealous of him or envy him or want to be as successful in handling customers as he is. He considers himself successful, but deep with-in he also feels lonely and guilty for screwing up with Priya and his best-friend.

He is supposed to get a promotion and a big pay-hike but only a tender stands in his way. To discuss the same he arranges a meeting with the prospective client firm and Priya happens to be the head of that firm. Atul has just six days to get the tender cleared and just six evenings to win over Priya.

Would Priya forgive Atul? Will Atul get the tender cleared? Or would Priya bring their personal differences in the way of professional relationship? Is Priya seeing someone or is she still in love with Atul? What would Atul give more preference to – his relationship or his career? To know the answers for these questions, you’d have to read the novel.

The story-line is simple and the plot moves forward at a leisurely pace. The author clearly shows the current scenario of the corporate world where people have to play a lot of internal politics to reach at the top and in the process how one has to sacrifice so many things, especially relationships.
The angle of spiritualism and philosophy through Guruji or Sir is also wonderful where he speaks very less but advises effectively and his teachings are also worth-following. Sir also plays an important role in the story-line near the climax.
The scenes with his two best-friends Ramakant and Lovely are funny and hilarious.
The love story with Priya, although paced-through and under-developed, is kind of sweet and cute.

The most annoying thing while reading is errors and this book has loads and loads of grammatical and spelling errors. Clearly, the editor has to re-work a lot.
Too much of technical jargon about corporate and also about marketing/salesmanship may not interest everybody.
Some instances are too good to be believable and some are stretched so long that they tend to become annoying.
At 381 pages, it is way too lengthy.

Overall, a fine read.

Connect with the author here : Tanmay Dubey

Posted in books, fiction, Just Six Evenings, reviews, Tannmay N Dubey | Leave a comment

Unsettled : Novella Review

Toronto-based publishing house Indireads, which exclusively publishes e-books and was started with the aim to revolutionizing the popular fiction genre in South Asia, brings another wonderful novella, Unsettled.

source : indireads.com

Divya and Raghav are going through a rough patch in their otherwise blissful married life. Divya is sure that Raghav is having an extra-marital affair with his childhood friend Anu and Raghav is fed up of her suspicions and doesn’t bother to clear the misunderstandings. They both are just waiting for the other to utter the ‘D’ word.

In one last attempt to save their marriage, Divya visits a psychiatrist, Dr.Ray. He makes her go in the recesses of her memories and makes her talk about her ancestral town and the stories her grandmother had told her.

He advises Divya to bring along Raghav in their next sitting and advises them to go to Cherakad,  her hometown and asks them to get ‘Scrolls of Love’ which were written by a banished poet Shankara 5 centuries ago, but now are in the possession of Thatri, a yakshini who lives in the Big House, a palace of 100 rooms. Unfortunately, it is believed to be haunted and that nobody can ever make it out of the house alive.

How do they enter the palace? Do they manage to get the Scrolls of Love? What importance does these scrolls hold in reviving their marriage? Who are Shankara and Thatri and what is their story? Read the novella to know answers to above questions.

The first thing that catches your eye is the impeccable writing style of Neelima (M.Phil in English literature). The characters are nicely sketched and are identifiable and considering it is a novella of just 70 pages, that is no mean task. The ancient story set 5 centuries ago and the present story run in parallel and you can instantly make the connection between the two stories. Although it begins with the story of Divya and Raghav, Unsettled is more about Thatri and Shankara. Neelima shows her prowess at writing by combining paranormal, supernatural and romance into one and also make it look convincing. Unsettled is poetry in verse and there is some kind of understated sexiness attached to the story which teases the reader.

I just have one complain. This shouldn’t have been just a novella, but should have been continued into a full-fledged novel.

A perfect, one-sitting read, for those who like to read about supernatural romances and also for those who appreciate good prose.

About the author:
Neelima Vinod spent her childhood in the Persian Gulf, with holidays in the warm, dreamy climes of southern India. Writing about the supernatural is an inevitable outcome of her exotic background. She has acquired her M.Phil in English literature and worked as editor, teacher and writer. She now lives in Bangalore, India. Her current obsessions are her twin sons, the books on her shelf and off it, and her poetry blog.

You can read her poetry at http://neelthemuse.wordpress.com and follow her on Facebook facebook.com/neelimavinodauthor.

Posted in books, fiction, Indireads, Neelima Vinod, novella, reviews, Unsettled | Leave a comment

Global Warming : A Looming Danger

global warmingWe live in a world where things are accepted, looked into, discussed, strategized, only after they become a large problem. None of us are interested to either think or talk about the latent problem which is soon turning into a patent one—our dying environment. It is a gift that we received from our creator but alas we have repeatedly (ab)used it and now it’s dying a silent death.

It was widely believed that Earth was going to end in the year 2012. While it has been a year since and we are still alive, it doesn’t mean that the prediction was entirely inevitable. The way we humans, have been living our life, the day doesn’t seem far when mother Earth rebels and unleashes its fury upon us.

Although various governments have been trying to educate their people about the dying condition of the environment and the repercussions of their ignorance and indifference towards the dying environment, they have continued to be in the stage of denial. People don’t want to believe that it might be true and that they have exhausted almost all the natural resources available to them.  Well, that’s where they are wrong, because not only have the minerals and fuels exhausted but many animals are on the verge of extinction.

The nature is not what it used to be. The beauty, the charm and the peacefulness of the nature is all lost. I agree that change is inevitable, but at what cost—the lives of the future generation?

One of the major problems harming our planet Earth is global warming. The term “global warming” was first used in its modern sense on Aug. 8,1975 in a science paper by Wally Broecker called “Are We On The Brink Of A Pronounced Global Warming?”

Global warming refers to an unequivocal and continuing rise in the average temperature of Earth’s climate. Over the time, scientific understanding of the cause of global warming has been increasing. The International Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) reported that scientists were more than 90 percent certain that most of global warming was being caused by increasing concentrations of greenhouse gases produced by human activities.

People have been cutting down forests for constructing new roads, buildings, city expansion and making furniture. But what they don’t realise is that these trees absorb a large amount of solar energy and in turn sustain the animal-life in the forests. What’s worse is that they never think of planting new saplings, let alone trees and forests. This kind of deforestation and imbalance in animal-life cycle is one of the major causes of global warming and has had some adverse effects.

Environmental Effects:

Temperatures have been rising rapidly. The highest rise in the temperature was witnessed in the past decade when people experienced the warmest months of April, May, and June. In the year 2010, Pakistan hit its record high 129 degrees and so did Russia with 111 degrees.

Similarly, overall rainfall has also decreased in many countries  while the others have been destroyed by repeated floods. Even the winters have ceased to be cold as  the lowest recorded temperature has been steadily declining.

Not to mention that the number of natural calamities has increased, leading to mass destruction of human capital and financial capital. earthquakes, volcanic eruptions, glaciers gliding and melting, tsunamis, floods, severe draught and famines have increased in various countries causing great economic problems for the middle-class and lower-middle class people.

Expected Future Effects:

According to environmentalists’ reports, climatic changes are likely to have an adverse effect on the hundreds of millions of people through increased coastal flooding, reductions in water supplies, increased malnutrition and increased health impacts. They say that these changes in the climate will result in the extinction of many species and reduced diversity of ecosystems.

Luckily, there are various ways in which global warming can be reduced. Some of them are:

1) Reducing wastes.
2) Reusing or recycling used items.
3) Reducing the usage of disposable items.
4) Using compact fluorescent light (CFL) bulbs which are highly economical too.
5) Drive less and walk more.
6) Save and conserve water.
7) Reducing deforestation and increasing reforestation. Plant more and more trees.

Easy isn’t it? The only problem is that we need to take up these steps right NOW. We need to work really hard and real fast to save the planet from the wrath of global warming.

No matter how small our contribution may be, it is important that each and every one of us take it up as our responsibility to save Earth and its environment.

Today, I take a vow that I will switch off lights and fans when not in use. What about you? What are you going to do to reduce global warming?

(First published at The Viewspaper, an online magazine.)

Posted in environment, global warming, The Viewspaper | Leave a comment

Maya In Search Of Tantric Father : Novel Review

Vipin Behari Goyal, who had debuted in fiction with Tall Man Small Shadow which was based on existentialism and dealt with various issues like relationships, philosophy, romance, ego issues, attitude of youth etc., has published another novel by name ‘Maya In Search Of Tantric Father’ with a tagline of “A key to the eastern mysticism”

source : goodreads.com

source : goodreads.com

In this book, Vipin describes the journey of a young American woman named Martha, whose mother had just passed away. Martha discovers her mother’s diary and after reading it learns that she was impregnated in India and that her biological father was actually a Tantric.

Martha is determined to meet her father and she embarks on a wild-goose chase of finding her father from a population of over a billion people.

Martha’s mother had clicked various pictures when she had stayed in India and had segregated them in a chronological order which made it easier to know which photograph was clicked where and when. With the help of her diary and photographs, Martha starts the spiritual journey of finding her father.

She starts with Pushkar and in her search, happens to visit many religious places like Haridwar, Allahabad, Kathmandu, Gangotri, Himalayan glaciers, Banaras etc. In various places, she meets various kinds of people and makes many friends who help her, in their own way, in carrying forward her search. Although a few of them get romantically attached to her, she has no time to reciprocate as she is in search of something far greater than romance. Funnily enough, there are many sages who seem to be already knowing her, refer to her as Maya and keep guiding her in their own way.

Why do all the sages refer to Martha as Maya? Does she meet her biological father? Why had her parents separated? How did her parents get romantically involved? What are the hurdles she faces in her search? Was it bold of her to carry out this mission of ‘finding a needle in a hay-sack’ or plain foolishness? To know answers to the above and various other questions, do read the novel.

The novel is wonderfully written. The best part of the novel is that it is written from the point of view of Martha, an American. Every now and then, Martha compares the materialistic attitudes of the Americans and praises the spiritual and traditional attitudes of Indians. She is also mighty impressed by the hospitality of Indians. Many Americans still believe that India is a land of snake-charmers and she finds all the development in the country surprising. It seems like Vipin has actually transformed into a foreigner’s psyche and is looking at India from a foreigner’s viewpoint.

Apart from that, it is also a beginner’s guide to Hinduism for a foreigner who is curious to learn about the religion in India but has no idea about it. Almost every complex detail like history, beliefs, rituals, processes etc is explained in most simplest of terms through conversations between its characters.

It is a work of fiction, so all the characters being helpful to Maya is understandable. But, it may not be the case in reality.
So, Maya also talks about some problems faced by the solo-female travelers in the country, especially with some men trying to take advantage of them. What is heartening to see is that she is unfazed by such dangers and is even willing to fight to finish her search.

I had heard of Tantrics, about how they lead their lives in jungles, about how they smeared ash all over their bodies and that they fed highly on chillum, but I had never heard about their rituals. I don’t know how much of the Tantric Sex ritual was true and how much of it was fiction or if it still in practice in secrecy, but the description of it reminded me of Dan Brown’s The Da Vinci Code where a similar ‘communion’ was set.

Every now and then, Vipin also mixes some deep and spiritual philosophy which can be inculcated in life for a satisfied, happy and a peaceful living.

As was the case with TMSS, here too there are various grammatical errors and spelling errors. The homonyms like whether-weather, one’s-once, there-their etc are often misspelt. The narration keeps juggling between past and present confusing the reader. All of these could have been avoided with proper editing and proof-reading.

The journey doesn’t end with this book. Her journey continues in the sequel which is titled “Maya in search of Guru”

Nice, spiritually and philosophically enlightening, illuminating and interesting read. :)

Connect with the author here – Vipin Behari Goyal

 

MayaP.S : I thank the author Vipin Behari Goyal for mentioning my name, site and a line of my review of his previous novel in this novel. I feel elated that am part, albeit a very small one, of a published novel.  :D

Posted in books, fiction, Maya In Search Of Tantric Father, philosophy, reviews, spiritual, Tall Man Small Shadow, Vipin Behari Goyal | Leave a comment